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Catherine Piercy
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Her experience and abilities are beyond her year of call.

Legal 500

Catherine is a successful commercial and insurance specialist with a particular focus on construction and engineering disputes, property damage and professional liability. She has a busy court and adjudication practice, acting for insurers, contractors, employers, construction professionals and insolvency practitioners.

Catherine appears in all levels of tribunal in procedural applications, substantive hearings and trials.  She is also regularly instructed in adjudications and accepts such instructions under the Hardwicke Fixed Fee Adjudication Scheme.

Catherine is “innovative and commercially minded” and has a client focused and commercial approach to resolving disputes, giving “good, practical advice”. She effectively manages the legal, expert and client teams to achieve the most favourable outcome for her clients.  She is described by her clients as “bright” and “phenomenally hardworking” and has been described by Chambers UK as “a junior who is doing a ‘tremendous amount’ of construction work to great acclaim.”

Adjudication

As Catherine’s core practice area is construction and engineering, she is regularly instructed in adjudications for both referring and responding parties. Catherine has experience in substantial, as well as small, final account disputes, technical payment disputes, substantial professional negligence claims, defect claims and delay and disruption claims.

Catherine is particularly skilled at leading the client, expert and legal team to produce the required material in the short time available, without compromising on the depth of analysis or technical detail required to achieve a successful outcome.

Recent Work:

  • Representing a subcontractor in a multi-million pound final account dispute in relation to a landmark London development, which involved the full range of issues including contract interpretation and claims for variation, delay, loss and expense and liquidated damages.
  • Representing a main contractor in a c£9m claim against its structural engineering subcontractor in relation to defective design and construction works to the roof of a care home, which resulted in the site being closed due to safety concerns.
  • Representing an employer in successfully resisting a claim for payment pursuant to payment notices which Catherine persuaded the Adjudicator were invalid.
  • Representing a firm of professional consultants and their insurers in relation to a multi-million pound professional negligence claim as to the design and contract administration services provided in respect of works to a Grade II listed building. The Referring Party discontinued the adjudication after receiving the Response.
  • Representing a subcontractor in relation to a notice based payment dispute, recovering substantial sums due for works carried out to a major London development.
  • Representing a charity (employer) in relation to a c£2.5m final account dispute concerning the construction of a world class final account dispute.
  • Representing a subcontractor in relation to a breach of contract claim concerning the installation of a specialist roof to a school. The Referring Party discontinued the adjudication after receiving the Response.
  • Representing the consultant quantity surveyor in relation to a payment dispute in an adjudication under the fixed fee scheme.

Construction Litigation

Catherine’s core practice is in construction and engineering disputes and she is recognised as a leading junior in this field by Chambers UK, Chambers Global and Legal 500. She regularly acts in cases concerning defective works, payment disputes, final account disputes and prolongation claims as well as professional negligence claims made by and against construction professionals.

Catherine excels at understanding and analysing the technical aspects of such claims, in order to provide an appropriate strategy for the case designed to achieve the best outcome for her clients. Catherine acts for contractors, employers, subcontractors, construction professionals and their insurers and has also acted for insolvency professionals in relation to construction disputes.

Recent Work:

  • Advising a property developer in relation to claims made by the residents of a block flats concerning a range of issues alleged to have resulted in the flats being uninhabitable under the Defective Premises Act.
  • Representing a specialist sub-contractor in relation to the installation of a high pressure water mist system in the basement of the Houses of Parliament.
  • Representing structural engineers in relation to a claim for defective design and construction of the structural steel to a hotel, which allegedly resulted in masonry falling causing personal injuries.
  • Representing an employer at trial in relation to a claim for damages for defective works causing substantial water ingress to the basement of a high spec residential property.
  • Representing a subcontractor in relation to a multimillion pound claim concerning the construction of hardstanding at a major car manufacturer’s premises.
  • Representing a main contractor in relation to a defects claim against its insolvent subcontractor.
  • Advising the main contractor in relation to adjudication and arbitration proceedings in which a subcontractor was claiming £3.5m in relation to the construction of a temporary dock facility
  • Representing a charity in relation to c£2.5m final account dispute concerning the construction of a world class standard sports centre.
  • Acting for the employer in relation to a £1.1m claim for liquidated damages arising out of the delayed construction of a substantial residential property.
  • 9-13 Grosvenor Street (GP) Limited v Carillion, acting as junior counsel for the employer in relation to a c£32m recovery claim against the project team arising out of damage to the party wall with a neighbouring property during the course of construction works.
  • Acting as junior counsel in litigation concerning the defective construction of a major road in Wales (UK Highways A55 Ltd v Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd [2012] EWHC 3505 (TCC)).  The case also provides guidance to as to the consequence of staying proceedings on the time for service of the Particulars of Claim.
  • Successfully represented the contractor in the leading case on the definition of “residential occupier” in Westfield Construction Limited v Clive Lewis [2013] EWHC 376.
  • Representing and advising a liquidator in seeking to recover monies due to an insolvent contractor in relation to a number of construction projects.
  • Defending a major national housebuilder in relation to a claim concerning defective works and sewage contamination.
  • Catherine is also a contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance (2014, Sweet & Maxwell) and a contributor to the Practical Law Construction Blog.

Construction Arbitration

As a result of her busy construction practice, Catherine is regularly involved in arbitrations involving construction disputes.

Recent Work:

  • Advising a main contractor in relation to recovery of sums from a structural engineer (and its insurers) for defective works to a property rendering it structurally unsafe.
  • Advising the main contractor in relation to adjudication and arbitration proceedings in which a subcontractor was claiming £3.5m in relation to the construction of a temporary dock facility.
  • Advising a home owner in relation to arbitration proceedings concerning the defective tiling installation to their high end property.
  • Advising insolvency professionals of a main contractor in relation to a series of arbitration claims made by different employers.

Property Damage

As a result of her reputation and excellent understanding of technical issues in construction claims, Catherine is regularly instructed at an early stage to advise on and act in claims concerning damage caused by fire, floods, leaks and explosions.

Catherine’s clients include both insurers and property owners.  As a result, she is well placed to understand both sides of the litigation, ensuring she is able to provide the best advice to her clients in relation to both merits and strategy.

Recent Work:

  • Advising a train manufacturer in relation to the recovery of damages for remedial works necessary to a train following a fire caused by defective engineering works.
  • Advising the owners of an energy waste plant in relation to a multi-million pound fire damage claim.
  • Advising a home owner and their insurers in relation to a multi-million pound claim concerning damage caused by repeated sewerage leaks.
  • Advising the owner of a warehouse in respect of property damage caused following the explosion of a roller during treatment works.
  • Advising a college in relation to fire damage caused by the installation of solar panels during the construction of a further education building.
  • Advising a major high street pharmaceutical store in relation to a fire damage originating from a cosmetics stand.
  • Advising a plumbing subcontractor in relation to substantial water damage following a repair to pipework.
  • Advising a home owner in relation to a potential claim following an extensive fire emanating from a boiler which spread to a neighbouring property.
  • Acting for a drainage contractor alleged to have caused an escape of sewage at a luxury Mayfair property causing the extensive property damage.
  • Acting for insurers in relation to a flood damage claim in respect of a residential property.

Construction Professionals

Catherine regularly acts in professional negligence disputes concerning architects, contract administrators, quantity surveyors, project managers and structural engineers in all aspects of professional negligence claims against construction professionals, including cases concerning negligent design, overvaluation of works, inadequate contract administration and failure to inspect/supervise.

Catherine accepts instructions from clients directly and also from insurers in respect of subrogated claims and provides advice, draft protocol letters and pleadings as well as representing clients in court.

Her recent work includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for the main contractor in relation to a c£9m adjudication concerning structural engineer’s negligent design and construction of a care home. Catherine achieved an excellent result for her client, despite the structural engineer appointed a silk and junior counsel team.
  • Defending a contract administrator in relation to professional negligence allegations relating to overvaluing works and failing to identify defective works.
  • Defending a project manager in relation to a professional negligence claim concerning the failure to ensure the contractor had suitable insurance in place and to obtain collateral warranties. The Claimant discontinued its claim following service of the Defence Catherine drafted (Camperman v Cube).
  • Defending an architect in relation to allegations of negligent design of a substantial residential property (Lloyd v Blair).
  • Defending an architect in relation to the alleged negligent design of a heating system and the alleged inadequate supervision of the works (Victoria House Properties v ARH).
  • Defending a consultant contract administrator and quantity surveyor in relation to alleged negligent services provided during the course of the renovation of a heritage property. The employer discontinued the adjudication following service of the Response drafted by Catherine.
  • Defending a solicitor in relation to allegations of professional negligence, conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Defending a solicitor in relation to the failure to advise a client as to the value of a charging order over a freehold property which was subject to a long lease.
  • Acting for a lender in relation to a breach of warranty of authority claim against a prominent firm of solicitors.

Construction Insurance

Catherine’s Construction profile outlines her extensive experience of construction and engineering claims, many of which involve insurers.

Catherine has developed a particular expertise in claims concerning new home warranty policies, acting for both insurers and their insureds.

Recent Work:

  • Representing the insurers who provided new home warranty policies in respect of a block of flats in relation to a multi-million pound claim proceeding through the TCC.
  • Advising freeholders and leaseholders in relation to claims under new home warranty policies in relation to works to common and external areas.
  • Advising insurers in relation to recovering sums from an insolvent, but potentially insured, subcontractor. Advising an insurer of residential property as to the obligation to act promptly and the indemnity cap for providing alternative accommodation.
  • Advising a contractor’s professional indemnity insurers in relation to claims made for defective design, workmanship and personal injury.
  • Advising home owners in relation to defect claims under new home warranty policies.
  • Advising insurers in relation to defect claims by home owners under new home warranty policies.
  • Catherine is a contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance (2014, Sweet & Maxwell).

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Catherine acts for professional indemnity insurers primarily in relation to claims against construction professionals. However, Catherine also has experience in claims against other professionals, including solicitors and valuers.

Insurance Coverage

Catherine advises on coverage issues in relation to various consumer, commercial and reinsurance policies.

Recent Work:

  • Advising on quantum issues in respect of business interruption, loss of stock and property damage.
  • Assisting in a coverage dispute in respect of motor insurance arising as a result of modifications made to the vehicle and incorrect answers on the Proposal Form.

Commercial Litigation

As a result of Catherine’s extensive experience of analysing, interpreting and advising on lengthy construction contracts, she is regularly instructed to advise individuals, companies, lenders and funders in relation to the governing contractual rights and obligations in broader commercial matters.

Recent Work:

  • She was recently instructed by a funder in relation to stakeholder proceedings in the Commercial Court concerning sums due under a debenture, where proceedings had already been issued by a lender pursuant to its receivables finance agreement.
  • She also acted for a company in relation to a dispute under an aircraft management agreement in the Mercantile Court.

Catherine has particular knowledge of the finance documents involved in lending and share sale agreements as a result of her time with the finance team of a major US law firm.

Insurance Funded Disputes

Catherine regularly acts in relation to disputes involving insurers, details of which can be found in the Construction, Professional Liability and CDR sections of her profile.

Professional Associations

  • COMBAR
  • TecBar
  • SCL
  • Adjudication Society
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Society of Construction Law

Publications

Contributor to  Construction All Risks Insurance, published by Sweet & Maxwell.

Qualifications

  • LLM European Law (University of Nottingham)
  • BA (Hons) Jurisprudence (University of Oxford, St. Catherine’s College)
  • Bar Vocational Course
  • Lord Astbury Scholar, Middle Temple

Recommendations

Catherine is recommended by Chambers UK, Chambers Global and Legal 500 as a leading junior in construction. She is also recommended by Legal 500 for professional negligence and Chambers UK for property damage.

Construction:

“Fights really hard for her clients and works incredibly hard. She’s an excellent advocate who produces top-notch written work.” (Chambers UK)

“An outstanding advocate who is resolute and remarkable in leading a long-term strategy.” (Legal 500)

“Her written work is top class…She is very commanding and highly effective when dealing with clients and the other side.” (Chambers Global)

“An extremely hard worker who always comes up with helpful, pragmatic advice.” (Chambers UK)

Professional negligence

“‘She has very strong communication skills that inspire confidence and bring a positive energy to the room.” (Legal 500)

Property damage

“Clever, incredibly industrious, very easy to work with and utterly reliable.” (Chambers UK)

“She’s very bright, very accommodating, and very good with clients. Both her writing and advocacy skills are impressive.” (Chambers UK)

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